Digital Drive is a £4m initiative that aims to help SMEs in County Durham to maximise their growth potential and sustainability through digital technology.
The initiative offers*:
- One to one business support to help with strategic business planning, digital marketing and guidance on digital technologies that could be beneficial;
- Fully funded masterclasses and conferences covering topics such as digital transformation, digital content and search engine optimisation;
- Digital Health Check to assess your online presence, review your digital skills and provide advice on the best use of technology for your business;
- Grant funds of up to 40% to support digital consultancy projects; equipment that will help your business to improve through the use of digital technology; website, software or app development; or the installation of broadband infrastructure.
*All support and funding is subject to eligibility criteria.
Digital Drive is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Business Durham, which works on behalf of Durham County Council, and private investment. The initiative forms part of the wider Digital Durham initiative to improve broadband speeds for residents and businesses across the North East.
Interested in finding out more
Contact Digital Drive to register for support, events and funding opportunities, through one of the contact methods below:
Phone: 0191 389 8458
Durham County Council has partnered with Protech City to offer low-cost computer equipment to County Durham based registered charities under the Digital Durham Reboot scheme.
A quarter of Durham County Council owned desktops and laptops are replaced each year to ensure they are technically up to date and perform well. Some of these devices are suitable for reuse, and are being offered through this scheme.
The equipment starts at just £75 for a desktop and £105 for a laptop. Both come with genuine Microsoft Office 2010 Home & Business software and a Windows 10 operating system that includes anti-virus.
To be eligible you need to use the equipment to:
- Help residents get online by providing free internet access
- Provide support to residents to improve their skills – this could be digital skills
- Assist the charity to run more effectively
You can request an application form through one of the following ways:
Phone: 03000 261 160 (voicemail service)
Data limits can sometimes leave you scratching your head. You sign up for a broadband service and are quoted an amount of data you can use every month, but what does that data allow you to do?
Most broadband providers offer the customer an unlimited data allowance, but if you’re looking to save a bit of cash or are using a satellite connection, it’s likely that you may have a cap on your usage. A great way of visualising your usage needs can be seen in the table below from Money.co.uk.
Unlimited broadband is an attractive prospect for many. Being able to navigate the internet, stream HD videos and play online games without the fear of breaching a data cap can put a customer’s mind at ease. Sounds great, right?
Well, there can be some unforeseen issues. Many consumers believe that with an unlimited package comes faster speeds and, unfortunately, that is not true. Being able to consume more data does not mean that your internet will see speed improvements. If speed is a priority to you, look out for “download speed” over data limits. It’s also worth bearing in mind that an ‘unlimited’ data cap usually comes with a fair use policy. Whilst there is no universally accepted ‘fair use’ number, users who heavily participate in peer-2-peer file-sharing networks are more likely to risk being contacted by their ISP.
So, what happens if you go over your data limit?
If you breach your data cap, you can face additional fees on your monthly bill or be subjected to a practice known as ‘throttling’. Throttling is where your broadband provider restricts your speeds at peak times and, depending on your connection speed in the first place, can prove to be quite frustrating.
Luckily, most companies will notify you when you’re approaching your data limit. This allows you to modify your online behaviour in order to ensure you don’t go over your data allowance. However this is not always the case. It’s always a wise idea to keep tabs on your usage and, with most service providers allow you to monitor your usage online or through an app. I yours doesn’t, or you can’t figure out how to set it up, you can find out how much data you’ve used by getting in touch with your service provider directly.
Remember, if you monitor your data usage and are consistently using under your limit, you can always contact your ISP to request a reduced data cap in order to save some pennies!
It is now more important than ever to ensure your business has an online presence, but what are some sure-fire ways to carve out your own online footprint? We’ll be highlighting some key areas to that will help get your enterprise the digital platform it deserves.
Creating a website can be daunting. Most budding entrepreneurs don’t have access to large amounts of cash to throw at fancy web developers or possess the coding knowledge to create a sleek and stylish page on their own.
Don’t fret! There are plenty of options to help you create a clean and cool web page for a relatively low cost (and sometimes, even free). Sites like Wordpress, Squarespace and Wix provide users with the opportunity to create budget, customisable websites without the need for any coding skills. Using these type of companies can help you stand out against others in your sector by providing you with a modern-looking site and giving you the support to maintain it.
Most of these companies provide you with security, backups, software updates and online guides, making your venture in to the online world that little bit more relaxing
Whether you like it or not, social media has become a part of many of our daily routines. Whether you find yourself scrolling through Instagram on the bus to work, or checking in with your relatives on Facebook, social media is prevalent in our society.
Getting online and creating a page for your business can help you keep in touch with customers, advertise your products or services and help to give a personality to your enterprise. Each social media site is different, so be sure to swot up on the do’s and don’ts before you indulge; there are tonnes of examples of companies failing to get their tone right and not running their sites effectively.
See below for some handy tips and hints from digital marketers on how to create an effective social media page for your business.
With 3.5bn searches per day, its not hard to see why listing your business on Google can help you gain some exposure. Google’s Google My Business feature allows owners to register their business, providing further detail like address, opening times and pictures, to help potential customers find more info on your enterprise. This function also provides customers with the ability to post a quick review of your business, assigning you a rating out of five stars and leaving space to detail their experience should they wish.
Say, for example, you run a butcher shop. If someone was looking to find butchers in Durham city, they would type “Durham city butchers” and a list of options would be provided to them, detailing location, opening hours and how well they’re rated.
This service that Google provides also gives you the opportunity to access bite-sized lessons on marketing and the ability to get help from experts in their online community.
Ensuring you have a presence on Google can help new customers find you, instead of your competition.
Gone are the days where you need to be tech god to create an online presence. Getting your business online is becoming easier, less time intensive and helps you compete in an ever-growing marketplace. An online presence can be what separates you from a competitor, giving you an advantage and helping you grow your business even further!
While you’re here, why not check out another on of our business-focused posts? Click here to learn how fibre broadband can help your business!